In a bid to keep the flames of passion burning brightly I have propositioned Mrs Under with a fortnightly date night. Every two weeks I will book a baby sitter, take her out and show her a good time. The first rule of Date Night Club – you DO talk about Date Night Club! The second rule of Date Night Club is that restaurants, cinemas and bars are all banned, this is to be an unconventional Date Night. So there you have it, I will be giving you a full disclosure of what we get up to, where we got up to it and whether Mrs Under’s switch was flicked (that sounded like innuendo, it wasn’t).
Date Night – Saturday 25th May
Venue – The Yarra River, Melbourne
Cost – $99 for 2.5 hour including the best fish n chip dinner I can remember and I‘ve had a lot of them (the cool cats at Kayak Melbourne let us come along as guests)
Dress Code – We dressed for a night on a river in Melbourne in Autumn – don’t be shy get your thermals out!
So far for Date Night Club I have danced awkwardly with a roomful of women I have never met and I’ve watch on awkwardly as a man dressed in silver hotpants danced for me. It’s fair to say that Anna has been well catered to so far, but tonight was all about me us. Tonight we saw Melbourne in a whole new beautiful light and I fell in love with the city all over again.
After establishing that neither of us are capable of reading a simple map we arrived at the venue 30 minutes late and wheezing after setting an Australian record for the 4km Couples Sprint. Our friendly guides Matt and Kent displayed amazing patience to laugh the situation off, I’m pretty sure I would have been quietly seething. By the way why is it that when I take Anna on these dates the guides/instructors always look like male models?
After some instruction on how to paddle, steer and generally not ruin the date by drowning we got into our kayaks, me at the front thrashing and splashing and making a lot of noise, with Mrs Under at the back gently steering us both to where we want to go – it’s as if it’s a metaphor for our relationship? Matt tells us the double kayaks are also known as “divorce boats” because of the rapid descent into argument once couples start paddling, sounds ominous.
We started paddling around the Docklands area, the sky lit up in reds, oranges and purples as the sun began to set. I couldn’t see her but I suspect Mrs Under was trying to catch glimpses inside the lavish homes that line the Yarra to see how the other half live or even better see someone emerge from the shower. Sure enough Mrs Under soon revealed herself to be a kayaking expert and saw a few flaws in my technique that she couldn’t help but point out.
The kayaks are pretty easy to paddle leaving you free to soak up the views and dare I say the romance. When I asked readers about their favourite date nights the overwhelming winner was fish n chips straight from the wrapper and before we knew it we were tucking into the best fish n chips straight from the wrapper just the way you like it…….only in a kayak. The best bit is you don’t even have to feel guilty about it because you have an hour and a half of paddling in front of you.
We shimmied up to and under the Bolte Bridge, little old us in our kayak dwarfed by this colossal structure that you normally drive right over. We headed back towards the city centre for the ‘wow moment’ as the Crown Casino puts on a little show involving great balls of fire, if my neck was longer I would have leant over and given Mrs Under a little kiss but as it was I touched her paddle tenderly with mine.
I can’t emphasise how different the view of Melbourne is that you are privileged from a kayak. The sights, the lights, the colours, the noises are all slightly different from the water. You feel special as you gently bob along without anyone truly realising you are there. As you can probably tell this was my kind of date and judging by Mrs Under’s smile when we got off the kayak she enjoyed herself too. We had a little hug although the life jackets it felt like we were wearing fat suits.
Inspired by our new lives on the river we stopped for a drink in a cool little bar that hugs the bottom of a bridge and is nestled nicely on top of the water, we drank mulled wine in a bid to warm up and excitedly swapped best bits and paddling tips. This was a goodie, a real goodie, and I recommend anyone who finds themselves at a loose end in Melbourne to make it happen.